The first Tai Tsuku opens the door to Shaolin Kempo, at least according to my interpretation. In the style I teach there are five Tai Tsuku, six Sifat (which are actually one long, coherent form) and five Kempo forms (which are often called master forms).
The first Tai Tsuku is required for the yellow belt. Still and more and more it is one of my favourite kata, because it is the one I have exercised most often and I have shared all the changes my Kempo has experienced over the years with it and tried it out on it. In this respect there is no “final Kata”, no finished form, because it is always an expression of my understanding of my martial art.
The origin of Tai Tsuku is not clear. In Shorin Kempo Ryu by Olaf Bock there is the Tasi Yoko, also one of the Shaolin Kempo kata. It is also divided into individual parts and practiced until it becomes a complete form. But especially our fourth Tai Tsuku is obviously based on the Ch’uan Fa, another of the Shaolin Kempo kata. My guess is that Tai Tsuku is composed of fragments of different forms and different levels of knowledge. Typical for Shaolin Kempo :-).
But I don’t care, because the Tai Tsuku are firm and very beautiful components of the Lung Chuan Fa style. And each of them also conveys movement and fighting principles and therefore has its didactic justification.
The first Tai Tsuku consists of 14 consecutive stances with combined fist techniques, so it is rather a short kata. In my first Kempo phase I tried to perform it exactly, hard and as powerful as possible. The harder I locked in the stances, the more “Kime”, i.e. fighting spirit and power, was attested to me. The stance heights have hardly changed. The imaginary opponent was “shot down” with straight, almost linear movements, the stances were executed as low as possible.
After I got to know the principle of the “vibrating hip”, i.e. the horizontal rotation of the hip to achieve more tension and thus more power, the first Tai Tsuku became even more powerful. During this time I also started to understand blocks as a possibility to hit. An Age Uke for example can also be a massive forearm punch into the armpit or under the chin.
When I got to know the art of Silat, Niki Sandrock and later sensei Olaf Bock, my view of the first Tai Tsuku changed once again significantly. Now it is not the final results that count, but the movement towards them. In addition to the horizontal hip movement, a vertical wave movement through the body now also gains in importance. Suppleness and changing stand heights are important. The strokes no longer all come as straight as possible, but now and then also in up and down movement to the target. In a real fight this way you achieve a much harder, more painful hit.
In the meantime it is also no longer so important to stand as low as possible. On the one hand this has to do with getting older, because athleticism simply decreases. But on the other hand it is also not a way of “fighting”. And finally every Kata, thus also the 1st Tai Tsuku, is a shadow fight against imaginary opponents. Whoever fights, doesn’t stand maximally low, otherwise he gets away badly from the spot. And it is healthier for the knees anyway.
Through all these developments “my” first Tai Tsuku with its few single techniques and clear step diagram accompanied me. And it will probably always remain a measure of my personal development in the martial arts. The original meter of Kata so to speak. 🙂